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Our House

The quiet is explained and order comes back to my world.  Some are ready to rumble, some are not ready to rumble, and others are totally cool with other people rumbling, but it’s not their thing.

I appreciate all the feedback and all of it is valid.  I work from home, so it’s easy enough for me to click on a sound player or video — the same wouldn’t be true if I was still teaching.  If you aren’t out to people about your infertility, it would obviously not be a great idea to link to that post because you would have some explaining to do.  And I too like to find new music and such and find it difficult now that I’m out of the college/commuting world.  I see it akin to making friends — I can certainly still do it, but it’s harder to meet new people as you get older.

And I appreciate most of all the point May brought up about this being an infertility blog and an online weekly concert is decidedly not about infertility.  It’s not, and I think that point deserves an explanation.

I think some of it comes from how we define this space.  It’s my personal blog, reflective of my world, but it’s also a community space.  It has an overwhelmingly ALI-slant, and I’d even go so far as to define myself as an infertility blogger.

But I think it helps to know that while other people see this as an infertility blog, I don’t.  I see myself as a general diarist with an infertility slant; a small difference in definition, but I think an important one.

I’ve never kept a journal on a single topic, changing journals as my focus changed.  My dating journals also charted where I was career-wise and my friendships and travel.  I would say that from 1999 — 2001, I was very focused on the fact that I was single.  I wanted to be married.  I wrote about that a lot.  And I would even label those journals “the post-graduate school  dating years.”  But they never solely contained my feelings on relationships.  They were overwhelmingly about being single, but they also reflected everything else that traveled through my life at that point.

The same goes for my early marriage journals and my infertility journals.  I wrote about treatments, I wrote about losses, I wrote about my frustrations and self-hatred.  But I also wrote about my high school reunion and trips we took and interactions with family members.  The point is that I’ve never kept to a single topic in any of my journaling — even if a single topic overwhelmingly defined my day-to-day world — and therefore, I’ve never actually done that with this space.

I mean, literally, look back.  I write about everything here.  I’ve never had a point where 100% of the posts in a week had to do with infertility.  I write a lot about blogging and social media and community.  I write sometimes about the twins or our travels.  Mostly, I write about things that affect me, that cross my mind, that I notice.  And all of that is done with a brush that has been dipped in infertility.

It is impossible for me to divorce my outlook from my experience.  It is also impossible for me to contain myself solely to a single topic.

What I am extremely mindful of as I write in this space is the audience I know. (There is a much larger audience I don’t know simply because they’ve never spoken up and told me anything about themselves, though I can see they are reading.)  There are things you’ll rarely to never see here, such as pictures of babies.  It doesn’t bother me when I encounter them on another person’s blog, but I personally don’t post pictures of babies.  Some of that is a lack of desire to have that on my site.  Some of that is a mindfulness that while it doesn’t bother me, it bothers some other people quite a bit.  Which brings us to the fine line.

This is all a long way to say that I start from a place of trying to be inclusive and not offend, but along the way, in order to be myself and to have this space be a reflection of me, there will be people who will inevitably feel excluded or offended.  It’s just not possible to please all people all the time; at least, that is the case if I’m ever going to state an opinion.  And even if I don’t state an opinion, just the mere fact that I’ve written about a certain topic sometimes offends people — they just don’t want me to be effusive or supportive of a group of people, for instance*.

So I walk a fine line.  Sometimes, my knee-jerk reaction to defining this space is an internalization of that Doug character from MTV’s The State, “What are you going to do?  Send me up to my room and take away my music?  I’m Doug and I can’t be locked in a cage like some sort of mannimal.”  BUT even if that is my knee-jerk reaction, I really do need and like to be challenged or hear what you have to say; how you process your world where it meets mine.

So after I got the Doug out of my system, I looked at the idea and whether I needed it, and the answer is yes.  Right now, I’m distracting myself from larger issues by taking guitar lessons.  It has become this focal point for the week and practice has become a focus of my day.  Concert on the Blog is an extension of that — of wanting to connect with others who want to have the same (or similar) distraction.  It’s also giving something I can give to something I want to support (artists).  Not everything I schedule for it will be something I love, and I don’t expect that everything I schedule will be something you’ll love.

I suspect that a few things will resonate with you, most will be forgettable, a few things may even offend you or make you roll your eyes.

At the end, there are no changes to this site beyond the natural changes that occur as a person or place ages and grows.  The core of the site remains the same — it aims to be inclusive,* it has a clear infertility-focus, it is a reflection of how I see the world and what is important to me at any given time.  And more than that, I want non-ALI readers because I think taking the message out of community has been what I’ve also been about since the beginning (and part of that is an extension of being very out about infertility in both the online and face-to-face world).

Whether it’s taking the message to the Hill and talking about infertility to congresspeople, or building a bridge between a non-ALI reader and an ALI-reader, I have never wanted this space to be a self-contained sphere — I’ve always wanted it to be an amorphous blob.  I want people to pass in and out of it, expecting that those affected by infertility will be mainly who is here (after all, don’t we gravitate towards our own?  About 95% of the blogs I read are by others in the ALI community), but also welcome anyone who comes over from BlogHer or the other places I live on the Web.

I want them to connect with me, learn about infertility, and walk away from here with a different understanding than what they are getting from the mainstream media:

That we’re not desperate or baby-crazy or selfish.  That we’re merely people with a disease, trying to treat it or circumvent it in order to build our family.

It’s the reason I open things like IComLeavWe to everyone in the blogosphere with the hope that connections are made.  That I learn about something non-IF related, and they learn about something IF-related.  And at the same time, I still keep things such as the weekly Friday Blog Roundup or the Creme de la Creme (I swear I am going to finish the list soon) to ALI-only.  Because we need our own stuff too.  And frankly, if I mostly only read IF blogs and the Roundup is a reflection of what I read that resonated with me, you’re going to get IF blogs too.

So… I hope that this makes sense.  It’s not anything I haven’t said before, but I thought it best to respond on here rather than privately.  Because I wanted everyone who weighed in to know I had heard you, I sat with the thoughts after I got the Doug out of my system, and if I ultimately decided to still continue on, I owed you a reason.

And an enormous thank you to the people who challenge me, who make me think — if this space grows and changes, it’s because you’re the force that moves me instead of leaving me to stagnation.

*Though it has been pointed out to me numerous times that in order to be inclusive, I am, by definition, excluding people who feel uncomfortable about the people I’m including — see what I mean about a fine line?


1 Kristin { 03.15.11 at 12:42 pm }

Thanks for sharing the reasons behind this idea. Although I was in no way opposed to the Blog Concert idea, I feel more connected and interested in it now.

If there is a particular song by an artist that we’d like to suggest, do you want a link or just the name?

2 PaleMother { 03.15.11 at 1:29 pm }

I love the fact that your blog is multi-dimensional, just like you. For me it makes what you have to say about your more consistent and defining topics, like IF, more meaningful — because it comes from a well rounded and credible person. It also makes your blog a more personable and warm space. If I want to read a magazine or a newspaper or an IF newsletter, I’ll do that. What I get here is much more dynamic and alive. It also gives me the illusion that I ‘know’ you, lol. 😉 Ah, the burden of celebrity. 🙂

I wish my other interests had a blog and a community as worthwhile as this one. None of us are one dimensional. And the great thing about blogs as opposed to journalism is that the living and breathing person behind the voice is celebrated instead of being airbrushed away. I also think that if part of your mission is to be a kind of ambassador to the non-IF masses, the fact that your blog is not rigidly focused makes it much more inviting to an audience that needs to hear your POV. You aren’t just preaching to the choir.

Great blogs keep people’s interest by occasionally challenging them with new things. (Not that this is a tactic or all about traffic. Far from it.) I look forward to all of your next big, bloggy ideas. Go Mel.

3 serenity { 03.15.11 at 1:44 pm }

All I’m going to say is I wish I had one fifteenth of your energy and creativity. I love what you’ve done with this space and the community you’ve helped to create, and I wish I had the ability to do something BIGGER with my own space, too.


4 Barely Sane { 03.15.11 at 2:01 pm }

I guess I’ll speak up – it for sure does not rub me the wrong way to have more than just IF stuff here. I enjoy reading all your posts – sometimes the non-IF stuff more than the IF related posts. Perhaps because it’s not a focus in my life anymore or perhaps because I was immersed in it for so long that it feels good to stretch my legs and experience more. I like it.

5 loribeth { 03.15.11 at 2:26 pm }

What Serenity said about wishing I had your energy. : ) I’ll admit the original post gave me a bit of a “huh?” pause — not only because it was so different from the usual stuff you post about — but it was also full of detailed instructions about submitting videos & such. I was in the middle of a busy day at work (as I am again…!) & it was just too much to absorb at that point — my eyes sort of glazed over & I decided I would have to come back to this later.

I don’t mind some non-IF stuff now & then, on your blog or anyone else’s. I don’t always post about IF stuff myself. And I will probably check out a video or two, if you post them. But not, as someone pointed out in their comments, during the workday (kind of hard to do in a cubicle environment sometimes…!).

6 HereWeGoAJen { 03.15.11 at 3:03 pm }

I don’t see this really as a infertility blog either, but as a Mel blog. 🙂

7 Vee { 03.15.11 at 3:25 pm }

Good on you Mel!
I never got to comment on it, but I just wanted to say I never like to be first up. I would like to see this get started then I am sure I will be joining in 🙂

8 nh { 03.15.11 at 3:28 pm }

I think perhaps it good sometimes that you remind us that although so many of us found you through ALI, it’s not everything that you are about. And it’s good that we all try to remember that IF isn’t all that we all, although I know that there are times when it feels that it is!

9 N { 03.15.11 at 3:43 pm }

Makes sense to me! But I think you already knew that I don’t mind what anybody puts on their own blog – it’s their space to use as they see fit. Meanwhile, I’ve just been too swamped the last few days to respond to either of your posts. It’s a neat idea, it just seems like a lot of work to me, and I probably wouldn’t have much time to check it out at the moment, as my very limited computer time is restricted mostly to at work (so, no videos/sound) or while n is asleep. Oof.

10 Gail { 03.15.11 at 3:57 pm }

Your blog is YOUR space and I hope you’ll do what YOU feel is best for YOU. Like the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come”. Your concert idea might turn off a few readers, but it also might bring new readers into this great space. And, I’m guessing that your concerts won’t be the only things that get posted. You are, first and foremost, a writer. And, a good one at that. So, if I were a betting woman (which I’m not because I’m too chicken$#*! to put up money), I would guess that you’ll still have plenty of blogging mixed in with the music/art. In fact, I’m kind of looking forward to it just to see what else you can do. You’ve obviously excelled in the writing department, so let’s see what else you can do.

P.S. I like country music.

11 Elizabeth { 03.15.11 at 4:21 pm }

I like what Gail just said about bringing new readers into this space – I thought about that with the ICLW too. I also meant to say in my comment on the previous post, that this IS your blog to do with whatever you like! I remember some time ago you broke it down into percentages – it was some kind of rule of thumb for blogs in general, what percentage of the content should be “on topic” for the primary theme of the blog. I don’t remember what that was, but I do remember thinking at that time that it’s nice to get more than just one idea or theme presented over and over again. Sorry I’m not more coherent right now – about to fall asleep – but just felt like I hadn’t said everything I meant to last time.

12 Chickenpig { 03.15.11 at 8:09 pm }

This is your blog. Other than the blog role and LFCA, it isn’t really just about infertility. It’s about you, your love of food, your Jewish heritage, your beautiful family, your writing, your love of music, the books you read, your politics, everything that makes it fun reading :). Keep doing what you do.

13 a { 03.15.11 at 9:15 pm }

I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

14 TasIVFer { 03.15.11 at 11:23 pm }

I’m happy to be exposed to other things; and happy you write about more than just one thing. My blogging life is quite compartmentalised; I have a blog for my garden, a blog for my life/geocaching – and totally and completely separate and not on the domain I own I have my infertility blog. Which means those who only know me through my infertility blog don’t get much variety – whinge, whinge, whinge. No colours, just shades of grey. I like that you’re spicing things up – and I like following *you*, not just what you have to say about infertility.

15 May { 03.16.11 at 4:37 am }

I appear to have hit a nerve. I’m sorry.

I just want to remind you readers, who don’t all seem to be reading ALL of my comment before hunting down my blog and emailing me, that I also said: ‘It’s a fantastic idea. It’s cool, it’s interactive, it’s a journey of discovery, I shall be watching when I can and am looking forward to seeing the artists.’ And I also said: ‘It’s good to move on, be more inclusive, and it’s been interesting AND heartwarming to watch this blog grow and change and look up and out to other things.’ and ‘I can only keep saying I AM grateful, I AM, for the blog and the blogroll and Lost and Found and all your kind, thoughtful, wise and passionate blogging and bearing witness for our cause.’

16 May { 03.16.11 at 4:59 am }

Dammit, I meant ‘YOUR readers’, not ‘you readers’. Sorry. I meant only the readers who ARE hunting down my blog and emailing me, or who are now thinking about doing so, not all your readers in general.

17 Bea { 03.16.11 at 6:50 am }

Ok, so… I should finish reading before I comment.

I know you write about all sorts of things here, and I think that’s all good, and I do hope people outside the community come for the Guitar Hero and stay for the learning-about-infertility, and everything else you’ve said, too. I guess what I was saying is that for some of your readers, this is part of their infertility-space and they get other stuff elsewhere (infertility can tend to have a very defined space if you’re private about it) and so they’re sort of, “Oh yes, rumbling, well, I don’t really come here to rumble but I guess we’ll see what happens?” rather than, “Yeeeeaahhh!” I think I may fall into this category to some extent. It isn’t that I don’t like/enjoy/read/comment on your other content, but I would be reluctant to link to it and at one point – in the thick of things and when your blog (and yourself) were relatively new to me – it probably wouldn’t have drawn my participation as heavily as an infertility-related project as it wouldn’t have resonated as strongly with why I’d come here. So I might have sort of joined in the rumble, but maybe I wouldn’t have been a chief rumbler or anything. It’s actually hard to say how I would have reacted in hindsight, so let’s just say I’m sympathising with that viewpoint and leave it at that, shall we?

Anyway, I’m glad you’re going ahead. I’m very curious about what you have lined up.


18 gingerandlime { 03.16.11 at 8:25 am }

I love your project and I have been turning it over in my mind ever since you posted it. I’m a big fan of anything that gets new art in front of an unexpected audience. I’m a professional musician and I have lots of videos I could submit — but I don’t think I could do it without telling my colleagues (and by extension, the rest of our very small world) about my infertility and possibly my own blog. It forces the issue of “going public,” which is something I am definitely in favor of in theory, but in practice I haven’t really told many people at all. I hope your project brings a lot of new art to a lot of new eyes and ears; I’m looking forward to watching the videos even if I won’t be submitting any.

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